Monday, July 16, 2018

Reasons for Recent Successes

I've always been fascinated when a player all of sudden finishes really high in a big tournament.  If it's an up-and-coming player, it makes sense because they are usually working on their game.  But when a seasoned player all of a sudden does really well when they had been missing from the podium for a while, it makes me want to find out the scoop!

I'm talking about players who have always played well, but hadn't had many high finishes the last few years, and now all of sudden placed high in a big tournament.

That happened to two of my friends recently and so I started my investigation right away for you all!  I want us all to learn from them. :)

The first player I reached out to is a good friend of mine and so he was chatting with me honestly about his thoughts on why he had propelled in his latest big tournament.  When I ran the Omega Tour, he only placed in the top 4 maybe once (when the tour first started), so what was the reason for the recent top finish?

He said he actually hasn't been playing hardly at all, especially the last three months.  I told him sometimes not putting so much into practicing can actually help us with no expectations, which allows us to enjoy the game again.

He relates and replied, "Yes I agree.  I was at a point where I was putting too much pressure on myself and overthinking.  I was able to keep things simple for most of the tournament weekend.  And also I want to have more fun when I play.  That got lost somewhere for me along the line."

I was SO happy to see how well he had finished.  So happy for him :)

At that same tournament, I noticed another player who had a higher-than-usual finish.  Then at his next big event, he had yet another top finish!  So, I reached out to congratulate him, too.  And while I did that, might as well ask what he's been doing to help his game.

After the kudos, I asked him, "Have you done something different with your game?"

"No, not at all... just gotta be positive and realize I can run out and beat anyone in the tournament."

That didn't help us, did it?  lol  So, I prodded, "But is this new thinking?"

"No, not really," he said.

Ugh.  There has to be something!

He then continued, "Just gotta do it and also stay focused through the waiting during the tournament.  The waiting just sucked the life outta me in the past."

I still wasn't satisfied with his response, lol.  I asked him, "So you just came to aha thoughts about what you need to do as far as your thinking?"

"Pretty much."

So, let me translate this for you peeps, lol.  I think he got frustrated with not finishing well, knowing damn well he has the ability and talent.  He gave it some deep thought as to WHY, and what he realized was he needed to be more positive about his own game, and also remain focused throughout the entire event (and not get frustrated with long waits, etc - things you can't control).

Pretty good translation, huh?  It's okay to be impressed.  j/k!  :)

The difference between the two is almost opposite.  The first player I talked to stop thinking too much and started to enjoy the game with less pressure.  The second player thought about why he wasn't finishing well and realized it was his attitude after much thought.

I think both are key to successes.

Congrats again to my friends!



Friday, July 13, 2018

The Rabbit Talk

I was watching a player in a match last year on the Sunday of an Omega tournament.  He really studies the game and practices, and it shows in his increasingly high finishes, even though he's not yet one of the top players.

I am very impressed with how much he has improved and how well he knows the game.

In this match, I saw him miss a crucial 8 ball.  He was trying to get shape on the 9ball, but he went for a tough shot on the 8ball and missed it in the side pocket.  As soon as I saw the shot, I thought to myself he should have used a different route to make the 8 ball (an easier shot) so he would for sure have a shot on the 9ball.  In other words, he took a risky shot and because it was a tough shot, it was missed.

Because I really like the guy, I decided to share with him (at the next tournament) my thoughts on his shot selection.  You have to realize I can't just walk up to some dude and start giving advice, I actually have to be careful how I even broach the subject.  Some guys take offense to a chick trying to show them something, so it can turn into a dicey thing.  But, I think you all know me well enough to know I am careful with how I word things to not embarrass him, upset him, or make him think I am better than him.  I am just offering advice.

Long story short, the conversation went very well!  We chatted about the different options and he explained why he made that shot selection (he wanted to get perfect on the 9 ball) and I explained why I thought it was better to go a different route (easier shot and still have shape on the 9ball).

After the great discussion, I shared with him I was glad he accepted my opinion so well, as sometimes guys don't react as receptive as he did.  He then shared something really cool with me.

He said that it's just like taking advice from a rabbit.

Uh, what?

He said in his country (Peru) there is a saying that you can listen and take advice from anyone, but it's up to you to decide if you want to use it or not.

I loved it!  But then I asked, "Uh, what about the rabbit, though?"

He smiled and explained, "Oh, the reason why the quote mentions a rabbit is because in Spanish it rhymes.  Un consejo hasta de un conejo."

I always find it fascinating when someone uses a phrase or quote from their childhood or country.  Makes me feel like they remain connected to their history and they let me see a part of it.  That day was a cool day for me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Being a Team Player Can Hurt - Project Hunger Games

I admit it.  I feel bad for my friend, Katniss of Project Hunger Games.

You see, she has a lot of talent, potential and love for the game.  However, she has a bit of a disadvantage.  What is this disadvantage I speak of?  Well, unfortunately, her own teammates.  

You see, she confided in me back in May that she doesn't get to play all 5 of her games on league night because she has teammates who complain about wanting to play, or feel they deserve to play, or whine they aren't being played more.  So, she gives up her 5 chances every league night to improve her own ranking on the league so her teammates get to play more.  Even though she's the top player on their team, she still does this selfless act.

So, what happens when people complain?  We get in a foul mood, get a bad attitude, and therefore can't compete well.  This in turn (oh the irony!) upsets her teammates because she's isn't winning all her games.  Little do they know, they are the ones affecting her play!

So, she is sacrificing not playing as much, not playing her best because she's upset and it not only affects the team standing, but her individual stats as well.

Katniss shared, "I get to the point that I don't enjoy competing....its not fun anymore. So I don't try, because I'm dreading it."

But a month later something really awesome happened.  She struggled with her unhappiness for many weeks and then decided to do something about it after giving it some thought and talking over options with her husband.  

She decided to have a team meeting and they set up ground rules about who should play and why (based on stats and future incentives).  This is another ironic thing as it not only helps her, it also helps the weaker players to give them incentive to help their own game so they get to play more!  So it was a much-needed change/decision that ended up helping the entire team!

Being on a team is one of the highs in life, but it can sometimes come with conflict and drama.  Once those are ironed out, watch out - fun times and better play ahead!




Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Quieting the Talker - The Danielson Series

Have you all wondered where Danielson was?  Yea, me too.  Finally heard from him, though.

The other day I got a text out of the blue, "You busy?"

I hastily replied, "Not really, just sat down at a poker table in the poker room of Winstar Casino lol.  What's up?"

Turns out he was about to play a guy who was a real talker - one that had in the past got under his skin for being kinda cocky, crappy,and just talking too much when they played.  I guess you could say their banter got out of hand and became personal and rude, instead of fun jabbing among friends.  And now it was down-right sharking.

Danielson said he wanted to talk about the match with him.  I told him via text, "The goal is to shoot his nuts off.  Doesn't matter who your opponent is.  If he talks smack, punish him.  And focus on 3-ball-shape, you'll be fine."

His reply was, "Gotcha - best way to shut him up is to run out."

I reiterated, "Yep.  Punish him for talking."

The thing I failed to remind him was to not get upset.  When I say, "punish" someone, it's not an upset reaction, more so you are laughing at them, I'll show you not to talk to me that way hahaha by running out.  

I asked Danielson a few days later if my golden words of insight were helpful (I'm an only child, feedback is key for us only children, lol).  He said it was when he thought of it, yes.  So, I patted myself on the back and typed up this blog entry :)

Btw, he ended up losing only hill-hill, so I consider that a success!  From his perspective it wasn't, as he lost, but to overcome an adversary who you know ahead of time can get under your skin, is a success, not a defeat.  Then again, that didn't affect my pocketbook, so I can call it a success easier than Danielson can lol.

Remember people, punish them with your art on the pool table.  Quiet them and don't let others affect you.


Friday, June 29, 2018

Tongue Lashing After a Loss

I find it interesting, (well, actually disappointing and sometimes shocked is better terminology), the way people act when they lose.

And I don't really mind people slamming fists on tables or snapping their cues (although I feel bad for the cues, lol).  But what I'm really referring to is the tongue lashing a player may get because they defeat someone.

One of my friends (I'll call her "CJ") was playing in the masters division of a national tournament once.  She decided to see how she would fair among the top players, as before she was kinda timid about if she really deserved to be there or not in that division.  The irony of her reason to play or not and the story I'm about to share about what happened to her, is truly astonishing.

In her first or second match, she defeated her opponent (another friend of mine, who I will call "Suzie") and instead of shaking her hand nicely and just walking away, "Suzie" said something to like, "You shouldn't even be in this division.  What have you accomplished to be here?"

OUCH.

When I heard this, I knew immediately the only reason "Suzie" said that was because she lost, but that doesn't mean it was right at all that she was so rude and mean.

The thing is, it stung to "Suzie" that she lost.  And yet, it stung to "CJ" when "Suzie" said that crappy comment.

But I was shocked the one thing she decided to say was about why 'CJ" was in the division anyway. Why would that even matter?

I know both ladies well and both are super sweet.  But it shows how the game can really bring out the worst in us when we lose, especially when we feel we shouldn't have lost.

Let me explain a little further.

I happened to walk by that exact match and I noticed there were friends of "CJ" watching their match but also talking too loud and being too talkative.  So, I think "Suzie" reacted that way not just because she lost, but because she also had other negative things going against her that upset her throughout the match.

BUT STILL.  Doesn't mean it was right to chew her out for winning.

So many people do this.  It's not unheard of, unfortunately.  People even do this in relationships, or with people they don't even know.  Take for instance someone who gets irate at bad service at a restaurant or standing in line too long while their blood boils from frustration.  The waiter or cashier gets chewed out.  It's the same concept:  getting really upset or embarrassed or pissed and taking it out on someone else by snapping at them.  But, doesn't mean it's right.

I actually grew up being verbally abused and I didn't even realize until my mid 20s it wasn't right to yell at someone.  Yes, really.  And then it took me 10-15 more years finally stop being that way through much help from loved ones.  Seriously, 10-15 more years to stop, even after I knew it was wrong.

So, I can understand and relate.  Still.... doesn't mean it's right.

"CJ" was mortified and hurt, and it really made her feel badly her opponent was so rude to her.  It's tough to feel elated to win a big match when someone chews you out right after.

BTW, "CJ" ended up in the money and she proved to herself she does indeed belong in that division; no matter what "Suzie" thought.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Game of Skill

I was talking to an out-of-towner back in late April.  We were having dinner, mostly talking about our friend Dave Faver and the options ahead of us (his close circle of friends) to help Dave with his quality of end of life care.

This friend used to go on the road with Dave back in the 70s and has kept in touch with him all these years.  It was a very tough dinner, but one we both needed as we were both leaning on each other for comfort, advice, and friendship about the man we both adored.

After a while, he asks me, "I don't even know this, but do you play pool, too?"

I looked at him funny, How do you not already know that?  I'm famous!

Instead I said, "Yea, played pool about 25 years and also ran a couple of tours for about 15 years total."

He said he could never really get into the game as much as Dave was, but still loved it (and occasionally still plays league).  And then he shared,  "You know, there's not another game with such high skill, that pays so little."

Amen to that!


Monday, June 25, 2018

While You're Learning

Back in the mid to late 90s, my dear friend and top player, June Hager Walter, suggested I read a book entitled, Mental Toughness Training for Sports.  I wasn't sure why she suggested I read it at the time, but now of course it makes complete sense:  I needed some help with mental toughness!  It turned out to be a REALLY good book for me to read.  And, it was at the beginning of my pool journey and it was an enlightening book for someone who had never competing in sports before.  But it's a great book for all competitors, no matter where they are in their sports journey.

The bonus to this book was there is a section in it that explains how to "get in the zone."  I have consequently shared that concept with many people throughout my life, to help them in upcoming big tournaments.

But, that is not the topic of this blog post today.  Sorry!  Maybe I'll share "how to get in the zone" tidbit someday here in my blog, OR maybe you can read the book yourself :)

The other huge thing I learned from that book was, if you played your best, you gave your best effort, then you should not be upset at yourself if you lose.  I learned from Mental Toughness Training for Sports that if I played lazy or didn't give 100%, then I needed to accept that I didn't play my best.  This advice helped me from getting frustrated or depressed about my play.  I loved that info!  It was very helpful for me.

But the point of this blog post is something not even related to what was IN the book, but what I did while I read the book.

For whatever reason, I decided to stop practicing while I read the book.  Back then I was hitting balls several times a week.  But I wanted to focus on the words of the book and take the time to read it thoroughly with dedication.  So, I didn't hit balls the entire time I read it.

I mentioned to June in the middle of reading the book that I stopped hitting balls.  She confided that was exactly what I was suppose to do.  What?  I asked her, "Then why didn't you just suggest that to me?"  She replied she wasn't sure I would really do that, if she suggested it, lol.  But, it was kinda crucial to stop trying to improve my physical game while I read that book - I suppose so I could focus on one thing at a time.

While we can for sure multi-task (or so we think - check this out), it was imperative for my absorption to just focus on reading the book, and not also trying to improve my physical game at the same time.

Btw, the author is James Loehr.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I'm Baaack!

It's not like me to take a hiatus from blogging.  I actually had a couple of people tell me they missed me.  How Sweet!   Oh wait, they missed my blog posts, not necessarily me lol.  :-/

Well, what was up with me?

As I shared before, I only blog after work hours at my desk.  So, if I'm not blogging, there is a DIRECT connection to that.

Most of April I was with my friend Dave, mostly visiting him after work because he was not doing well with the affects of brain cancer.  And then in early May I was with him every day while he was in hospice.  He passed away on May 7th.  Pretty tough time.

May 10-19th, I was in Vegas helping out at ACS Nationals.

When I got back in town, around May 29th, I was the lucky soul who got an infected root canal.  Fun times!  I do NOT recommend it.  I was out most the rest of the next week.

The infection didn't go away with the first round of antibiotics, so they had to put me on a stronger dose.  I had no idea that strong antibiotics causes one to feel ill.  So, I didn't stick around work to type up blogs while feeling horrible and lethargic.  Sorry!  I know, where is my dedication??

Then I went to Maryland for work for a week, which again kept me away from my blogging desk.

So, finally, I am feeling well enough to hang out after work and blog for you peeps.  Did you miss me??  



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Playing Badly in the Middle of a Match

So, you may be wondering (or not, lol) if I watched any pool matches while I was helping out at ACS Nationals in Vegas in May. 

Well, the Admin desk was right outside the large convention room of pool tables, and I had to make a few announcements at the Tournament Desk, which one could only get to by walking by the extremely LONG row of pool tables, so yes, I watched some matches, lol.  I would mostly stop in my tracks and watch matches of friends as I passed, just to see how they were doing.  Or, a few times I would watch the Master players, just because I like to compare my choices with their shot selections.

I probably didn't even watch an hours worth of matches, honestly.  If I was down at the convention area, I was working.  When I wasn't working, I was off to New York New York casino or Harrah's casino to gamble/eat!

At one point though, I did go see how a close friend and her team were doing.  I walk up, and she's at the table.  Two teammates tell me something like, "You need to talk to her, something is going on.  We feel bad for how badly she's struggling and feeling."

So, I sat down and watched her play that game and could tell she was playing timid, which can be a sign of negative thoughts or embarrassment concerns. 

What she needed was a boost of confidence!

After she lost, she came outside the playing area and I got up and hugged her.  She didn't really want to talk to me, much less anyone else.  She was SO upset with herself for playing badly and she felt horrible for her team that she wasn't playing better for them.  As I hugged her, she started to cry - that's how much this bad play was affecting her.

I tried to give her some advice.  But as we all know, offering advice or opinions when someone is emotional is not usually the best time and your words aren't received very well, lol.  But, I still wanted to try, even though I could tell she just wanted to walk away from me so I didn't see her tears.  But, I was persistent and wouldn't let her go.  I told her that just acting confident, makes us confident.  "Scientific tests have proven this with actors," I shared with her, not that she cared, but I didn't want her to think I was just spouting off stupid anecdotes lol.  I told her the way to resolve this the best is to sit up real straight in her chair during her matches, even exaggerate her back being SUPER straight, so her body could FEEL like it's confident.  This act alone does wonders.

I also told her to take deep breathes.  Really breathe in, HOLD, then don't let the air out until she can feel her blood pulsating from her veins.  Then let the air out slowly.  This is THE best way to slow down our adrenaline.

I looked at her and she wasn't deep breathing at all.  "Are you breathing?  I don't see you holding your breath at all," I told her jokingly, but also being serious.  She tried to take a deep breath for me, as I still saw some lingering tears run down her cheek.

She was up again and off she went.  I sat and watched and sure enough, she lost another game.  BUT!  I could tell she was playing a little more confident, just happened to not win.

She was up right away again and I walked away, as I didn't want to be THAT parent who is eagle-eyeing her kid.  But I was still watching... and she ran out!

You could see how pleased she was and she was finally smiling!  I was so proud of her and was happy she overcame her bad/nervous/embarrassed play and started to play pool again!  Such a proud Momma I was :)

So, being the person I am, I asked her later that night or the next day with my chest out proudly, "So, uh, did my advice help you?  I helped you, right?"

She replies, "I dunno."

WTF.  What do you mean you don't know??

I mean, she was playing better right away after I gave her a pep talk and was more confident right away.  Did I not the SAVE THE DAY??!

hahhahaha.  Actually, all funniness aside, I don't think it was my golden words of advice at all.  I honestly think it was more so I let her get her emotions out by crying and that was a release of stress and emotions.  THAT is what I think helped her.  Not my experienced words of advice that can move mountains.  hahaha

I think the key here is for players to recognize when you are having a "break down" or whatever you want to call it.  For guys, the cure/help may be to go to the bathroom and splash your face with water, or for them to go outside and yell real quick.  For me, I would have done some jumping jacks in the bathroom to literally snap out of whatever was going on.  Any type of release for whatever is interfering and causing your bad play.

Of course, the other solution could be all about mental activities to help you.  For some people it's a physical solution, for others it's mental activities that can help reverse our negative thoughts.  Deep breathes, filling you confidence flask, remember to love the game, etc.

So, let's be clear.... I'm not suggesting players cry, but I am suggesting to be aware enough that SOMETHING is going on and then you need to do something about it.  Whatever your "something" is, do it so it helps you snap out of your bad play hopefully in time. 

Good luck, Cry Babies!  Just kidding :)


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fun With Team Names

I mentioned before when I helped out at ACS Nationals in Vegas in May that I was more talkative and more friendly than usual.  I really turned "up" my personality and smiled more than normal.  I explained that the reason was because I wasn't dealing with stressful issues so in return, I was able to focus on being bubbly for the players.

Sounds silly, right - I should have been bubbly at all times running the Omega Tour, but I cannot handle well some issues with a smile on my face, lol.  I'm not that good at acting.

Anyway, one of the main things I did to help run the Admin desk at ACS Nationals was I would create checks for the players who placed in the money.  So, with about 20 different divisions, it was chaotic at times lol.  Eventually we transitioned from individual to teams and then I had fun with the team names!

Here are a few examples:

One team came up and said, "We need our check."

I needed their team name so I could find their voucher.  I would ask, "What is your team name?"

They replied, "Don't Hold it Against Us."

I replied, "Okay I wont."

hahah - get it?  Their team name was Don't Hold it Against Us.

Another team, this one in the men's 8-ball team division needed their payout check as well.  "What is your team name?" I asked.  "8 Balls a Fire," they responded.

I asked them if they wanted to split the check or want one single check?  They said split the check.  So, I got all their names and realized they had 5 players.  I kindly informed them their team name should instead be, 10 Balls A Fire.

get it?  lol

At one point Tournament Director John Lewis asked me, "Can you make a check out for These Fine Ladies, please?"

I tried to find their voucher and couldn't find it.  Turns out they were fine ladies, but that wasn't their team name lol.

Towards the end of the tournament, the players are exhausted and as soon as they lose, they come right away to the Admin desk to get their checks.  On the final day, a female teammate came to claim their check.  I asked her the team name and she said, I Forgot.  I start looking for their voucher and again... lol.... it was a comment, not her real team name lol.  She was so tired, she did forget what their team name was, haha.

It was a lot of fun reading all the clever teams names.  I just love play on words and the cleverness of it all.  Makes me laugh and smile!


Monday, June 18, 2018

Gamblers Choice

One of the benefits to gambling (in lieu of playing in tournaments), is you get to choose who you want to play, or not play.

There is always some who gets on our nerves that we run into at tournaments.  Some players complain, some shark, some whine, some throw temper tantrums, etc.  In a tournament, we have to deal with them.

BUT!  When a player gambles, they get to choose who they want to play against and who they want to put up with.

A friend of mine told me the other day, "This guy is the WORST in the area about complaining while he plays pool.  But, I don't want to play him anymore or deal with him.  I have too many choices of who I want to gamble with, so I just don't deal with him."

I thought it was a really great point.  Because again, in a tournament we have no choice who the bracket Gods bring our way.  But when you gamble, you get to decide, "Do I want to deal with their antics today or not?"

However, I do want to point out that playing players with some sort of attitude is a great test for us in our pool journey.  We have to run into people like them anyway in many different type of tournaments, might as well make it a learning experience instead of being so pissed at them that you can't even play pool.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Discovering You're Not Alone

I write, I personally feel, quite often about personalities and such.

But, differing personalities are something we have to deal with in everyday life, and of course when we compete, too.  And if everyone had a pleasant personality, we wouldn't have much to complain about or get upset about, right?  In life and with pool, lol.

The other day I was talking to Katniss (of the Hunger Game Project of my blog).  She shared she was worried about running into her Nancy at an upcoming tournament.  If you don't know who Nancy is - read about her here.  Real quick though, Nancy is the generic name of players we all have a difficult time competing against and can't seem to defeat them for some reason.

I hadn't really asked her WHY she didn't like her Nancy, but this day I finally asked her what was up.  She was having anxiety days away about a person she may or may not even play in the tournament.

She shared, "She mentioned once that she hates playing these women that can not make two balls in a row.  So, when I have to play her, all I'm thinking about is trying to make more than two balls in a row!"

I lamented and told her, "Yea, she's a complainer.  And she talks and complains in her matches, too."

Katniss said, "Hmmm....maybe that is what she was doing: complaining and not saying that to me directly.  I need to let it go already... thank you for pointing out another side to Nancy.  I took it so personally....when in reality she probably doesn't even remember that convo!"

I shared with her, "Yeah when I used to run the Omega Tour, all she would do is talk and complain the whole time in her matches.  And yet players are supposed to be quiet when playing on the Omega Tour.  It made it really tough being a tournament director, lol!  But, yes she probably doesn't remember that she said something like that.  She complains so often about so many things, it's tough to those around her when she's playing.  So, it's definitely not just towards you.  As a matter of fact, I doubt she even realizes she does this."

Her response was, "Wow I am seeing another side to her for sure!"

This exchange is actually very familiar to a lot of us.  And we normally find such things out later.  What I mean is, sometime we go through life and run across people who may treat us rudely, are mean, say things that come across badly, etc.  We take it personal, maybe get offended and upset about how they treated us.  It's normal to feel this way.  But later on, whether it's years or months later, we find out the way we were treated was how they treat EVERYONE.  It's actually a light bulb moment for us.

For instance, my Dad used to hang up on me on the phone all the time when he would get upset at me.  I'm talking even until my mid 30s, he'd still use that gesture as a way to show he was pissed off about something/me.  At his Celebration of Life, his sister joked to her brother, "Remember when Tommy used to hang up on us all the time?"  I looked at her dumbfounded.  I had no idea he did that to other people.  AT ALL.  To learn he wasn't just hanging up on my Mom and I made me realize it was HIM and his personality, not anything I really did.

And the same for Katniss.  She hasn't been around her Nancy enough to realize that this is just the way Nancy is.  She makes comments like that in general and kinda complains a lot.  It's never personal at all, it's just her personality.  As a matter of fact, her Nancy is actually a really great woman, she just complains a lot. 

And once I shared with Katniss how her Nancy acts like that all the time, it was a sigh of relief her to find out it wasn't just her.  Actually, not about Katniss at all.  It relieved the tension she felt and the anxiety she had to find out that Nancy was kinda like a, well, Negative Nancy, lol.


One of the Four Agreements (one of my fave quotes) even says not to take things personal.  But, that is SO hard to do.  But down the road we usually find out our perception was never personal - it was the other person.



Friday, June 15, 2018

SuperStar Teammate

I'm not really a basketball fan.  I mean, I have been to some Spurs and Mavericks games, but that's normally only because whichever boyfriend I had at the time wanted to go see them.  The Spurs game I went to in the 90s, they were playing the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan looked RIGHT at me, even if I was delusional from the bleeder seats.  It was awesome how our eyes connected.  The few Mavericks games I went to, were mostly playoff games because it was the hype as I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

So, I don't know who Rodney Hood is or his background story.  But as I have pointed out before, when I read articles I usually relate them to pool.  And this was just the exact case when I read a short article about Rodney Hood and his recent struggles going to Cleveland.

Basically, Rodney was a star basketball player for the Jazz and was a top scorer for them.  Then was traded to the Cavaliers.... and he wasn't played as often.  Why?  Well, because of superstar LeBron James.

LeBron is the top player of the team.  He is played most often, has the ball the most, is normally the top scorer, etc.  Sure, it's a team effort, but Rodney is no longer one of the top players of his team like he used to be.

In the article, he states:

"I was playing at such a high clip when I got traded,” Hood said. “And then, this is my first time having "Did Not Play" (DNPs) in life. The first time shooting two times or five times in a game. Having to adjust is the toughest part. It’s a part of my growth. I’m not going to always be in this state."

I admire that he realizes it's part of his growth, that is difficult to do, as he's got to be frustrated.  I doubt he's sitting on the sidelines all happy about not playing and having low-scoring games because of his super-star teammate.

Many of us have been on both ends of this.  We are on a team that wins, but we are surrounded by better players who get played more often because they perform better.  On the other hand, sometimes we join a new team and find ourselves the top player of a team.  While that is surely a "high" in our life, that also has a domino effect on others on the team.  Those who used to play more, don't get played as often because you joined as their new superstar.  Rude!  j/k :)

What do we make of all this?

Well, it's just part of our pool journey!  Sometimes we will be the LeBron James and sometimes we will be the Rodney Hood (be a top player but not getting to show our talent because of the team we are on).  It's all part of the process and works out in the end.

I have learned through my pool journey that being on different teams provides different opportunities.  And while you may not understand the path you are currently on, eventually you will see every decision points you to the track you were meant to be going on on your pool journey.

You will see.  I promise. :)

Friday, June 8, 2018

RIP Dave Faver (and Billiard Buzz Interview)

My dear and close friend, Dave Faver, passed away peacefully in hospice on May 7th.  I can't begin to explain the impact our friendship would have on me as I helped him somewhat for the past 2 years as he went through esophageal cancer and then brain cancer.  His outlook on life was an inspiration and I was blessed to see that in a man who didn't have much, but actually had A LOT.  This will all make more sense when you read his interview that is now online for Billiard Buzz magazine.

I first interviewed David back in September 2017 - the day he had brain cancer surgery, and I would occasionally ask him clarification questions over the following eight months. He shared with me that he didn’t want me to put the interview in the magazine until after he passed away. I kept that wish (and many others), including Dave’s request that I title this “The Life of a Pool Player.”

I think you all will be very surprised by Dave's responses. Gosh I miss you, Dave!

Dave was in hospice for a week and a half and the nurses were simply amazing and so thoughtful and caring to Dave (and myself). I can't express enough how important hospice is and how impactful the nurses are during a difficult time. They were angels for sure.



Monday, May 21, 2018

My Experience Helping at ACS Nationals

I thought I'd share my experience when I helped out at ACS Nationals in mid May.  How does it compare to running a Tour?  What are the differences?  Similarities?

Well, the main difference is this is only once a year, compared to the Omega Tour I ran for six years, which became monthly.

The other differences are obvious, too:  more days (8 days compared to 2), more players (100 versus 1500), more tables (over 100 versus 12) and players from ALL over the US and also Canada (not just Texas and surrounding states).  The location is the same ever year, while the Omega Tour traveled to dif spots every month.

The similarities were normal, usual suspects as well:  higher players kept their spot in the winner's circle, players complained about handicaps, players who lost vented to the tournament directors, all levels of players had a great time competing at the game they love, etc.

My friend Janet asked me to help this year and the first long day I was WORN out. I ensured to just get more sleep every single night the rest of the week. Her and I were a great team. We bantered in front of the players, we were great roomies, and we got to spend quality time going to a couple of shows and eating together.

The main difference for me personally was I didn't run the tournament, like I did at the Omega Tour.  Instead, I helped at the registration desk for ACS Nationals.  I checked players in, passed out checks, answered related or unrelated questions about everything from where the parking lot is to what table are the mini tournaments on.  I helped with making team changes, answered rule questions, helped recover several lost cell phones, took photos of the winners with their trophies, etc.  We kinda are the go-to people here.  But, I didn't make any major decisions about players, didn't work on the payouts, didn't even work on the brackets at all.  I guess I was mostly Admin, BUT... the face of ACS Nationals all week.

Because I was not dealing with high-stress issues, I was able to concentrate more on being super friendly to the players.  I was smiling a lot, joking, making them laugh, telling them silly things, asking them questions to keep them engaged, etc.  Janet said after the first long day, "Thank you for being so bubbly."  Awwww.  And then on Thursday, two players went out of their way to thank me for how I handled situations / questions / players always with a smile.  It really meant a lot to me! 

One said specifically, "You take it as it comes, no matter what it is... you handle it well and with a smile!"

The feedback really meant a lot to me.

For some reason, this atmosphere allowed me to really let my personality out.  I truly feel being the face of ACS Nationals (ie, the first people the players see when they come to the convention area), is important not just for ACS, but more so for the players to have a great time with a welcoming attitude.  

And for some reason I really turned up my personality and was more bubbly and happier than usual.  I again, think it's because I was helping with the admin part and focusing on the players happiness, and not dealing with the many stressful parts that can come with running a tournament and interfere with trying to be bubbly.  John Lewis was the one who handled most of the complaints and issues.  He's the Executive Director of ACS.  And Gary Benson was the Tournament Director.  So, I was able to get paperwork things done while interacting with the players, and focus on THEM.

I am very good at compartmentalizing.  I lost one of my best friends to brain cancer literally days before I flew to Vegas to help out.  I had been with him in hospice for a week and a half.  So in Vegas I was a mess at times.  At night and in the mornings I was in tears, or sleeping a lot because I was grieving, but during the day I pushed that aside completely so I could be the welcoming face and smile for all the players.  I think the trip to Vegas was perfect timing to help with the major loss losing my friend Dave Faver.

I still need to figure out what to do now that I am back home and not around people, but helping at ACS was a blessing for me, as well.  Want to thank Janet for the awesome opportunity and invite!

Here I am trying to be funny:


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Trust Your Game

Confidence, pressure, trust in your game, nerves..... there are so many things that can affect how we perform in our pool matches.

One of my friends said during her team event here at ACS Nationals in Vegas that she just doesn't have the confidence in her game.

I told her we all have nerves, feel pressure, wonder about confidence etc. 

But, how do we overcome those thoughts to still perform well under those conditions to have faith and trust in your game.?

That's the key word:  TRUST.

The top players all have nerves, feel pressure, etc.  But what separates us from the amateurs is trust in our ability.   

When we have that, that's when we play our best.  Sure, we might think about who we are playing, what we are playing for, that the team we are playing is suppose to win, but those thoughts and feelings don't get as much in the way when we have trust in our game, in our ability.

Trust your game, peeps.  You'll be surprised how much better you perform with this concept.  Try it; you'll like it.  I promise.  :)


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Top Players Have Pressure, Too

Katniss of Project Hunger Games has already, in just two weeks of being part of the blog, has cross-pollinated with The Danielson Series!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Danielson's confidence increasing because he's found himself in a new position lately - as one of the best players on his new league.

Katniss read the blog entry and shared she really liked the topic. I told her, "I thought of you too, actually.  Because you help some of your teammates and also because you are a top player in your league - so you have the same feelings of confidence because of those things, right?"

She said, "Yes ma'am." (she's so polite lol), but also shared, "But in my case I feel pressure at times, also.  Because everyone thinks so highly of my game, I feel pressure sometimes keeping up my performance at that level all the time.  That's not possible, though, and so I looked at that as a failure and take it harder than anyone else."

I shared with her I used to also have the same feelings of positiveness and pressure at the same.  Although we gain confidence, being a top player can definitely lead to pressure, too.

It is actually really weird dynamics to have confidence, but also feel all on eyes are on us which adds pressure, lol.

Katniss added, though, something really awesome: "But over time, I have learned that with each bad performance is an opportunity for a great come back to show my peers that I too am human and can have bad days.  It's all part of the learning process.  :)  "

I was so pleased and happy to hear she sees some of the tough times as a learning experience because that is one of the best tools in our toolbox!

I'm so glad she's a great learner and see's such positiveness out of it all.  :)


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Pool at the Pool

I was asked to help at ACS Nationals this year.  Before the long, full days started at the admin desk registering all the excited players, I was able to sit by the pool one day to catch some rays, soak in some sun, decompress from things back home, and get a good Vegas tan.

As I get up to affix my towel better on my lawn chair, I notice a cool thing from the corner of my eye - a pool table!

So, of course I took pics for you all, to capture the blue-felted table sitting among the beautiful Tropicana swimming pool.





Monday, May 14, 2018

Puppy Love at ACS Nationals

Grace Nakamura has her best furry friend, "Eightball," with her all the times, even selling raffle tickets AND playing in tournaments!  She placed 3rd in her last event with Eightball literally by her side!

Here they are at the ACS Nationals selling raffle tickets for Jacoby Custom Cues.

Eightball was a huge it with the fans! 


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Confidence in Scotch - Project Hunger Games

For the first edition of Project Hunger Games, Katniss talked me about a scotch doubles tournament she played in.

I hope that players who play scotch doubles really listen to this to get the best possible play from their partner.

Katniss played with a really strong player, but in the very first match in the middle of one of the games, he told her, "I really thought you were going to shoot the 14 ball."

So, let's think about this.  At this very moment she isn't thinking, "I am shooting good and really like playing with XXX."  She is pumped up, happy, confident and sitting up straight in her chair ready to shoot again.

NOooooooo.  She's now second guessing herself, starting to feel defeated, losing confidence, etc.  

A few games later, he says it AGAIN.  "I thought you saw the 5 ball, thought you were going to shoot that."

Katniss is now mentally out of the game.  She's frustrated, wondering what she should do, confused on choices, losing her confidence,and going straight downhill.

She confided to me (and you readers) not only did her confidence go down during the rest of that scotch doubles tournament, she also felt unconfident the rest of the week at her leagues.

You see, scotch doubles players need to be lifted up, not shot down.  It may seem like his words weren't harmful, but they WERE.  If he wanted her to shoot something else, or a better shot, he could have gone over them AFTER the tournament was over.  But to raise doubt in her game in the middle of a match and the middle of a tournament did the exact opposite.  

A lot of scotch players do not realize the most innocent of comment can derail a teammate.  We start second guessing everything, wondering if we are shooting the correct shot, and then we play timid, unsure, and scared.

When my scotch partners have shot at a ball that I did not set them up for or I didn't understand why, the very LAST thing I did was lean over and say, "Uh, what are you doing?"  lol.  I didn't want them to think I was judging their decision or second guessing them.  I wanted their best from that point on, not a partner who was wondering what they are suppose to do, just because I asked a question.

The VERY best scotch doubles partners are the ones who make me laugh, never question my choices during a match, but also might show me shots after the match/tourney is completed.  Let me play my game, in order to be your best partner.  If you make me nervous about wondering what you expect me to do, I can't play my best at all.

And as a reminder, the effects can last way after the match.  So, I'm begging scotch partners to tread lightly, have fun, enjoy the chance to play together.  Then go over shots later.  :)


Monday, May 7, 2018

Playing Better Because of Confidence - the Danielson Series

Wanted to chat a minute about Danielson and his new boost of confidence from an unlikely source.

By joining a new league!

His APA teammates see him as a higher-ranked player because even though he may not be a top player (yet) he is still a better than most of his teammates.  He's often the one the call on when they take a time out. 

I can't begin to express enough how much this is a confidence booster!  And his recent finishes are starting to show that.

He played well in a regional qualifier and then placed 2nd in an APA weekend tournament.  I asked him why he thought he was playing well. 

He responded laughing, "Probably cause they think I play better than I think I play.. LOL"

"Well," I stated, "That doesn't really explain why you are playing better lol."

He responds, "It might... they treat me like the DFW Tour treats Rick Stanley."  (Rick Stanley is one of the top players on that tour.)

I asked Danielson to explain further.

"Well, the way they talk to me or talk about me makes me feel better about what I'm doing.  And I think it translates into me actually playing better.   It's a very weird dynamic.  And definitely not one I'm use to. "

I asked him, "It's a huge confidence booster, right?"

"Yeah.. and I'm getting the results of feeling better."

You see, Danielson is going through a normal part of our pool journey.  When we start to be the one people come to to ask questions, or people start to talk about us - the feeling it gives us is confidence and it radiates directly to our pool game.  We feel better, we shoot better.  Goes hand in hand.

I can pinpoint exactly when this started to happen to me.  Ironically I had joined a new league, too (a women's league) and I found myself being looked up to because I was one of the top players all of a sudden in the league.  The other leagues I was on was full of master male players who had been playing for years and years, so on those I was a little fish in a big pond.  But on the new league, I became the player people wanted on their team.  Me?  It took a while to get used to, but as Danielson shared with us, it's a huge confidence booster.

Getting to this point in our pool journey is a very amazing place.  Danielson is correct - it's a very weird dynamic, but also is huge step in our progress; just as Danielson is seeing/feeling.



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sweet Surprise

I love when I visit places and get to see an unexpected surprise. Like the other day when I went to a neighbors house for a meeting with the Home Owners Association committee that I am on.

I walk in and see this!




Pretty cool, huh?!  I love home pool rooms!

The few pool tables I had throughout my life, I never had a separate dedicated room - we just put the pool table in the largest room (usually the living room).  So, to see this was a treat!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rude Players Create a Stigma

Competition can really bring out the worst in us sometimes.  Right?

But what's interesting is, it's not who we are away from the table.

Take John McEnroe as an example.  He LOSES it on the court.  Yet when he commentates, you can tell he's not emotional and mad all the time, lol.

Here's the thing about competing.  If we are an extrovert and we wear our feelings on our sleeves, we may be a sore loser when we lose.  We may quip as we limply shake your hand, "I'd say nice game, but you only got lucky."

Ouch!

However, if we are an introvert that keeps our feelings inside, we would shake our oppoents' hand when we lose and bite our tongue.  We may vent to a friend, blog about it on the internet, lol, but we wont make a crappy, uncalled for comment to our opponent.

Here's another situation - many players learn or figure out eventually to not act that way (rude).  I know numerous players who used to act crappy after they lost, and now they are cordial.  Sometimes it's takes great self-reflection, control and learning to stop that "habit."

But this leads to an interesting point I'd like to share.

Because again, many people who spout off, are rude, or make crappy comments, they aren't that way all the time.  Competing brings that out.  Their emotions of losing, the sting of the loss, the bite of feeling embarassed - THOSE are the things that causes most of the rude comments to come from our mouths lol.

However, what this does is it is causes an unfortunate observation from people who don't know them personally.  And then they get a vison in their head, "Wow, that girl was a bitch and rude."  And then we immediately don't like them.

This is normal.

But what you pleasantly find out when you get to know them away from the table is how great they actually are!  Almost 95% of the players I thought were rude and obnoxious, were actually really great people.  Sure, there are 5% of the players who really are rude assholes and bully's.  But 95% of them are really cool, dependable, nice, people!

So, while it's normal to judge someone on how they react after they lose.  What is more surprising is when you get to know them and they become your friends.

Many of the rude players happen to be top players, right?  Not all, obviously, but many of them play good.  So when I joined their team or I formed teams (because we want the best teams, right?), that's when I learned most of the "rude" players were actually great people!  Many even became good friends.

Don't get me wrong - I'd still not like to compete against any of them because of their attitude on the table lol.  But if you get a chance to maybe have dinner and get to know those 95%, it actually becomes a surprising blessing.



Thursday, April 26, 2018

Introducing, Project Hunger Games!

Taking a cue from the Danielson Series, which has been well received, I am adding a new series:   "Project Hunger Games"!

This is the same concept - a player shares their experiences / questions before or after a tournament / league night, and I share our discussion and learning experiences all directly to you, via my blog!

The difference this time is the player is a chick.  A girl?!  Yep, a female player. :)

When her and I were trying to come up with a name for the project/series, we were looking at strong, leading women who are quick learners.  You know, like Uma Thurman or Clarice/Jodie Foster.  She thought of Katniss of the Hunger Games movies/books and what even made that choice even more perfect, she shared, "I have been told by some players that they wish they still had the hunger and drive like I have.... even though my pool journey is just starting to where they have many years of experience."


I'm excited to share her growth through this blog so others can learn, too!

While she is not going to be identified, I want to publicly applaud her for her courage to have this journey out in the open to share her thoughts, pains, learning experiences, excitements!



Monday, April 23, 2018

Keep It Simple Method

A lot of us think that the top players are good because they make hard shots all the time.  Right?  They can execute them much more consistently than us average players.  Damn them!  j/k :)

However, that is actually not true.

I wrote a few years back how I noticed a top player was always leaving shape in the middle of the table (on a bar box).  Us amateurs try and get perfect shape all around the table (and usually fail from trying to move the cueball all around).

A top player recently told me, "When we play good, it's not the hard shots we make; it's the shots we make easy."

I asked him to clarify:  "Great pool is about making things easy, and making every easy shot.  It's not making hard shot after hard shot.  Playing the simplest of shape always makes the game much easier."

And he's right!  Think about how many times we have heard, "This pro makes pool look easy."  Or how about how we secretly kinda wish the players on tv would miss more - to show the general audience that this is truly a tough game!

But the key is - pros are pros because they ensure they make all the easy shots (a lot of us amateurs taken them for granted and rush the easy ones) and they also keep things simple.  They notice the patterns and the correct side of the object ball to be on, otherwise it IS harder and tougher on them.  However, they have learned the secret:  keep it simple, make it easy.

How are you playing today?  Making it hard on yourself or easy?





Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Friends Away From the Pool Table

I remember very vividly I had to play Vivian Villarreal in a pro tournament (the Ultimate 10-Ball Challenge) here in the Dallas-area about 6 years ago.  I wasn't playing top pool back then, but I could still hold my own at times.

I knew Vivian was going to defeat me.  She was a pro and I was barely an amateur lol.  But Vivian and I are friends - she grew up in San Antonio and so did I and we've been friends FOREVER.  I even used to be her webmaster, so this isn't my imagination that we are friends, people!

So when I saw we had to play each other, I felt very calm going into the "pro arena" knowing I'd be playing a friend my first match and it really helped my nerves.  I looked at her more of a friend than a top WPBA Pro Player.  I also secretly thought to myself that she would be easy on me because we were friends.  You know, not really torture the newbie, be kind to me.

I was wrong.

Dead wrong!

She NEVER let up!  She treated me like everyone else - someone she needed to get through to win the title.  I was merely a stepping stone, not at all a friend.

WTF?!

LOL.

I think I lost 9-1 or something.  I wasn't too embarrassed for losing so badly, but I admit I had really hoped for like a 9-5 score where she would not play so tight a few games and I could get more beads on the score board, but OH NO.

I wasn't embarrassed, though, because I had been too busy watching this master on the table.  She wasn't timid, she was confident, she was making shots and getting in line - I was in awe.  And I was grateful to witness it so close (even if I was her opponent getting beat lol).

The thing is, she did EXACTLY what she was suppose to do.  We aren't friends on the table.  We hugged before and after, but that was it - it was all business - as it should be.

I had incorrectly assumed she would be "nice" to me.  And yet she should do no such thing!  And, she knows this.  There is no friendship - and she plays pool for a living and can't be trying to be nice to the amateurs in tournaments!  She needs to make that money, play tight.

I find it interesting I had these thoughts back then.  I was so na├»ve for sure!  When I was on top of my game, I'd rather her play tight and try and beat me 9-0!  Instead, as a newbie and a VERY green amateur, I had hoped for a bit of saving face, lol.

Great lesson she taught me that day!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Deciding to Play or Not

I had an opportunity to play scotch doubles back in March. Are you ready for all the details of it?

Are you sure?

Okay, here it goes!

I chickened out.

Yep, CHICKEN.

You see, I'm not in denial. I don't play like I used to because I'm not competing anymore. Sure, I have moments of greatness when I do play, but it's nothing like it used to be.

As a matter of fact, I didn't throw in the towel right away when the opportunity arose. I actually waited to see how I would play when I gave a lesson (remember, I don't watch my client's play and then point to what they should do, I spar with them and we talk about all our options). I told myself, "If you play good, go ahead and play in the scotch doubles event."

Well, I played FANTASTIC! I always find myself surprised when I play good, lol. It reminds me that because my fundamentals were so solid toward the end of my career, they still are.

But I'm not fooling myself. That's practice. Put me on the stream table competing and my mental toughness is thrown out the door and I play like my arms are wobbly and I'm paddling like crazy in a sinking boat, lol. I just don't play enough anymore to be a threat. And I'm okay with that - I'm actually much happier! But I also don't want to put myself through the angst trying to play well.

One of my exes went through this and stated, "My lack of confidence and struggling is just making me not have fun. I guess I should just accept this fate of sucking since I don’t practice, but I’d rather just quit than accept being less than. "

Boy, do I hear those words! I'd rather be doing less stressful things in my life than trying to play well, when I know I can't anymore. Life is short, right?

Don't get me wrong - pool is a beautiful sport! And I played for 25 years competitively.

However, the fact I struggled and debated so much with the idea of should I play or not, is the true answer: I was too apprehensive to play.

Just like with many decisions in life, if we can't decide on something and are struggling with what to do (or not to do) then that usually means we don't really want to do it. In other words, if we have no hesitation and are excited, then that means we really want to do that something. Too much "should I?" or "do I want to?" usually means deep down we don't want to.

Now peeps, don't tell me to start practicing and don't tell me to start playing more. I don't want to. I'm actually much happier stepping away.

Athletes in top sports still compete even though they aren't in their prime anymore. But they have sponsors and are being paid to show up....hmm, those things aren't knocking at my door for some reason lol.

So, when the opportunity comes up to play or compete, am being realistic. And that reality for me is I don't play like I used to, and that makes it stressful, which is one of the main reasons I stepped away. Who needs more stress? hahaha

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Blog Has Grown With Me

I find it interesting the path my blog has taken in the last 12 years.

I went from simple stats after a tournament, to pain-staking-details-to-the-reader of every match during my tournaments, to lessons learned, to giving tips, to sharing things I experienced, to insights/observations, to leadership, to people and feelings.

The blog has grown with me. From the fish out of water trying to play pool, to the confident, more honest person one sees today.

I used to not share the details of my personal life and feelings in my blog, now I am an open book and share things a lot more than I ever expected I would. From the depressing or tough learning experiences to the feelings we go through during defeat. I also talk more about "life" things, ie. even death. I love how my blog has evolved from "who is this girl?" to "look at that woman."

Life is about learning from our experiences, and making experiences happen. Not sitting around thinking of our dreams, but going for them.

Look at your own pool journey. You aren't the same immature player/person, you are more mature, too. Don't you just love yourself more? I do. And you should, too!


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Grandson Got His Own Cue

I wrote before how I had run across 3 generations of pool players back in December.  Here is the photo of Grandpa, son and grandson:


When I gave a lesson back in February, I saw them again.  I went up to them (they were on the non-smoking side of the pool room) and said my hello's.  I told them I had indeed posted their photo on my blog and they were excited.

Then the grandson exclaims to me, "And since that photo, I got my own cue!"

"Oh, did you!?" I asked.

In December, he borrowed one of his Dad's cues for the photo op.

I asked what kind he got and he proudly shared, "Gator."  I asked, "Gator?"  "Yep, Gator by Champion," he said smiling.

Nice selections and good looking cue:  check them out for yourself.

We all remember our first cue!  How cool for him :)



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tighter Pool Family

Charlie Smith, who I interviewed for the March edition of Billiard Buzz posted this on social media:

"I want to thank Melinda Bailey for the article she did on me in Billiard Buzz. To be considered was an honor for me as an average pool player and individual. Melinda Bailey did a great job in asking the questions and the whole writing of the article. If you ever have the privilege of being ask to let her interview you, do it. The more we learn about our friends and their struggles in life and playing pool make the pool world a tighter family, IMHO. I think Melinda Bailey missed her calling by not being an Professional Interviewer.

Thanks again Melinda Bailey!"

While the thanks should really go to HIM for allowing us into his personal life, he makes a really cool point that the more we learn from our friends and their struggles in life, make the pool world a tighter family.

I couldn't have said it better myself, so wanted to share it here.

I hadn't thought of this aspect and I love it!  I share the interviews so we can learn from each other, but hadn't realized the additional benefit of it propelling the pool community into a tighter family.  He is spot on.

Thank YOU, Charlie!


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

What Have I Been Up To?

Everyone keeps asking me how I'm doing since they don't see me play pool anymore or run a big tournament in the Dallas/Fort Worth-area.  Well, I'm doing great!

Still blogging (as you can see), still doing interviews for Billiard Buzz (which I LOVE), still contributing to the billiards radio program (Mike Howerton still grilling me on air), but also doing things away from the pool room.

Here's a taste:

Volunteered for the Cowtown Clean Up:


Fishing:


Shooting guns:


I'm going to Florida next week for work.  Someone asked me, "You stopping by the pool room?"  Uh, no.  In the evenings after my work day, I am going to walk along the beach a lot and maybe find some parks to walk along.

I also just joined a 10-month class (one day a month for 10 months) to become a Certified Citizen Forester!  I'm super excited about helping out the community once I become officially certified.



I've also been asked to help with ACS Nationals, so I will be out there in Vegas during May helping out.  I am so honored to be considered as part of their team to help run this national event!

I am also going to be a guest speaker at the end of the month.  The program is entitled, "Practical, Logistical and Emotional Support For the Caregiver of the Chronically Ill" and I am a panelist, due to my experience with taking care of my Mom for so many years and helping run the Coalition of Quality of End of Life Care in Fort Worth, Texas.

So, been busy and will be busy with upcoming events.

However, as comes with every day activities, some things do arise, like this cute little gash and bruise:


Turns out large guns have kickback I wasn't expecting.  I was using a 308 Howa.  Whatever that means lol.  Means nothing to me, except I noticed the bullet was huge.  One review says, "the 308 round is deadly efficient and while having legendary precision accuracy performance at longer ranges."  And I can attest to the accuracy of the close range to noses as well haha!  I would find out later this is pretty common and affectionately referred to as a "scope kiss."  lol

I didn't break my nose and didn't need stitches, so I was fine.  However, one of my friends pointed out, "Bet you never came back from a pool tournament looking like that...lol"

LOL!  Hahaha!  :-/